Santa, sales arrive Friday

BAR HARBOR — Here’s hoping all the little ones have been more nice than naughty this year, because Friday night is the time to get close to Jolly Old St. Nick and bust out that carefully crafted Christmas wish list.

Yes, it’s early December already, and in Bar Harbor that can mean only one thing: a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The cheery couple is set to arrive on the village green at 5 p.m. before heading to the YMCA for photos, free books and a party of cookies and crafts.

Adults are, of course, encouraged to head back downtown for the annual Midnight Madness sale once the kiddies are safely ensconced at home. Nearly three dozen shops will open from 8 p.m. to midnight for the event, which features deep discounts, refreshments and the novelty of crowded nighttime streets during the darkest month of the year.

Also Friday, the Main Sea Coast Mission holds its annual open house at the Colket Center on West Street, and members of the Congregational Church display a living nativity at their Mount Desert Street location.

“This is a great way to kick off the holiday season in Bar Harbor, and it is just one of the many events that is going to take place in the month of December, “said Jennifer Wright of the Chamber of Commerce, the sponsor of the Village Holidays celebration. “Bar Harbor is really a wonderful destination for the holiday season.”

The festivities begin on the green at 4:30 p.m. when singers from the Joyful Noise group will assemble to sing traditional carols and hopefully entice the crowd to sing along. There will be free hot cocoa available from Choco-Latte, a Main Street coffee shop.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a gleaming red fire engine at 5 p.m. They will make their way to the town gazebo and light the town Christmas tree. Afterwards, Santa will share one of his favorite stories with the gathered crowd.

The party at the YMCA runs from 5:30-7 p.m., with many activities for children. Representatives of Stone Soup children’s store, the Christmas Spirit Shop and Little Sisters Creative Youth Studio will offer craft activities, and there will be ornament making and cookie decorating as well. The Islander also will be on hand giving away a free book to each child as part of their annual Gift of Reading celebration. Children can take a photo with Santa at the event. See related story on page 12.

Midnight Madness has become an exciting yearly shopping event, with locals and visitors alike enjoying restaurant deals, store sales and lodging packages. A fully interactive map of participating locations can be accessed through the chamber’s web page at

“It’s probably more community based than anything, but we are starting to pull some shoppers from Bangor and what not who like to make an evening out of it – come down, have a nice diner somewhere, and then go out and do some great shopping,” Wright said.

During the sale, the chamber’s downtown visitor center will be open and for the first time will be selling Acadia National Park passes, at a 50-percent discount. Passes also will be on sale at the Island Explorer Hub at the Village Green. The price of a pass is going up 25 percent next year, so purchasing now reflects an even bigger savings.

The center will continue the park pass sale through the month of December. Also at the center, shoppers can use store receipts to enter a drawing for two round-trip tickets from Bar Harbor to Boston on Cape Air. Shoppers may enter as many receipts as they gather through the night.

The Maine Sea Coast Mission open house runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and features a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, wine and cider. The event offers a lovely opportunity to explore the mission’s Colket Center decorated for the holidays and hear about the many great works of the charitable organization.

Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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